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Asian Models Top Consumer Reports 2011 Auto Survey

It seems like old times again.

Consumer Reportsannual ranking on auto reliability is out, and there are two conclusions that stand out: The Asians are back on top and the Domestic automakers have stumbled.

Ford and GM have issues while Chrysler bucked the trend and did well with a limited number of models.

The first line of the Consumer Reports press release said, "Even with Chrysler's improvement, Detroit models still have a reliability problem."

The Top Five

1. Scion
2. Lexus
3. Acura
4. Mazda
5. Honda
6. Toyota

The Domestics

13. Jeep (highest domestic brand)
14. Lincoln
15. Chrysler
17. Chevy
20. Ford
28. Jaguar

Scion tC
Source: scion.com
Scion tC

So what happened?

Over the last three years Consumer Reports listed Ford and GM as closing the gap, if not pulling even with their Asian rivals. But a slew of new models, packed with the latest technology has resulted in America's two largest automakers stumbling. First year models are always plagued with issues, and that's what happened with Ford and GM.

Meanwhile, the Asian automakers maintained their pace while Toyota benefited from recommitting itself to higher quality standards after the recalls of 2009 and early 2010.

So what does this survey of 1.3 million people tell us about the Big 3 building quality cars and trucks? Overall, they are still strong. We're not seeing a repeat of the late 90's where a lot of what rolled out of domestic auto plants was plagued with problems and light years behind the competition.

No, Detroit has learned from those days. But, improving reliability, especially on brand new models is tough. My guess is the Big 3 scores will improve next year as they work out the kinks from launching all these models.

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___________________________ Questions? Comments?BehindTheWheel@cnbc.comand Follow me on Twitter @LeBeauCarNews

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